BeautifulPlaces, Leading Epicurean Lifestyle travel company in California's Wine Country adds travel and hospitalty pros to advisory board

August 30, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
SONOMA, CA — BeautifulPlaces, the leading epicurean lifestyle travel company in the California Wine Country, has added three travel and hospitality industry notables – Marilyn Benson, former senior vice president of Partnership Management at Diners Club North America; Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein, vice president of global wine and brand education for Beam Wine Estates; and Mickey Weill, senior vice president of sales and marketing for ProTravel’s ProWest division – to their advisory board.
“Because of the breadth of their experience, our three new advisory board members will be of significant help to us as we continue to refine and enhance our unique product offering,” said Patrick Smith, founder and CEO of BeautifulPlaces (, a Sonoma-based travel company offering food and wine enthusiasts visiting the Napa and Sonoma regions personalized estate rentals, customized gourmet itineraries and exclusive in-home services.
“We welcome Marilyn and the sales and marketing expertise she will bring to the board table,” added Smith. “Evan is one of only 124 Master Sommeliers worldwide, and is the author of Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier's Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food. He gives us a serious food-and-wine presence on the board and will help us define our ‘Epicurean lifestyle’ experience offering. Mickey is a popular and experienced travel industry veteran who has served on several highly regarded travel advisory boards. We couldn’t ask for a better trio of advisors.”
About BeautifulPlaces
BeautifulPlaces is a distinctive highly-personalized hospitality model created to serve the needs of an emerging segment of experienced travelers who have enjoyed their share of high-end hotels and resorts and are now seeking “something different.” Research has confirmed that a prime home rental affords the guests the utmost in privacy and the luxurious informality they relish while on vacation. BP offers all of this without the extended commitment of residence clubs or fractional ownership.
BP represents some of the finest homes in the wine country with properties to suit all tastes from mountain top architectural wonders to charming Tuscan villas to luxury wine estates to cozy family homes. Clients discuss their particular needs and vacation ideals with a consultant trained to match property and guest for ultimate satisfaction.

BP offers a custom concierge service that consults with guests prior to arrival and during their stay in order to design personalized experiences and itineraries including: entry into exclusive vineyards and events; experts to assist in building a wine collection; cooking side by side with private chefs; tutoring in the art of wine pairing; escorted custom tours with
winemakers; a day with a local artist; night sky viewing with a noted astronomer; custom blending at local wineries; meals in cellars and picnics in vineyards; garden tours and nature hikes; golf or tennis with a pro at private clubs; and much more. In home spa treatments, certified nannies, local transportation and pre-arrival shopping can all be handled with one phone call.

Marilyn Benson joined Diners Club in 1995 and was soon promoted to senior vice president of sales for North America. Prior to Diners Club, she was regional vice president and general manager for American Express. She is a member of the National Restaurant Association and serves on their education foundation board of trustees. She is also a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Women’s Foodservice Forum and is a fellow of The Culinary Institute of America and serves on the advisory board of Virginia Tech.
Evan Goldstein sits on the Beam Wine Estates global brands team, which manages the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution of Beam’s wine brands, including Cockburn’s Port and Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry. Besides writing about wine, Goldstein also travels and speaks extensively at food and wine and travel conferences on behalf of American Express. A San Francisco native and son of noted chef and author Joyce Goldstein, he began his career in the kitchens of the Restaurant Le Saintongeais and the Hotel Lancaster in Paris, and later worked at Auberge du Soleil and Chez Panisse Café.

Mickey Weill, who joined Protravel in 2005, has been in the travel industry for more than 20 years. Prior to that he had been with Altour Travel for 10 years and was formerly a partner of Group 4. Weill serves on several travel industry advisory boards, including Four Seasons, Rosewood, Abercrombie & Kent, Travcoa, Preferred Hotels and Resorts, Classic Custom Vacations, the Signature Travel Network consortium and the Canadian Tourism Commission.
The three new members join a board that recently added Dave Pottruck, CEO of Eos Airlines and former CEO of Charles Schwab.
Media contact: Arlene Winnick, 310.274.6430